However deplorable American methods to implement this, the objective is not entirely devoid of merit. Many boundaries in Asia are the legacy of colonialism. Imperialist powers carving out spheres of influence disregarded local sentiments to draw international boundaries.
At their Belfast meeting, Bush and Blair decided to put Kashmir high on the list of problems to be addressed by them. They apprised France of their talks. They will presumably seek UN cooperation. It would not be difficult to persuade the world that an explosive dispute between two nuclear nations must be speedily resolved. In the event, has the Indian government formulated contingency plans?
India must become proactive. It remains reactive at its own peril. This is the time to pre-empt the world by initiating Indian proposals that engage Kashmiri separatists. This column has repeatedly propagated the only solution that addresses the legitimate concerns of India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. Namely, to offer self-determination to all five sectors of undivided Kashmir, giving each sector the option of joining India or Pakistan or choosing independence. This would be on the precondition that all three sign a treaty turning South Asia into a community with joint defence and a common market.
To increase leverage internationally, it might additionally be stipulated that self-determination be extended to Baluchistan—which remained independent for a year after the Partition and continues to demand independence—and to Pashtuns, who under the Frontier Gandhi demanded an independent Pashtunistan after Partition. Tibet must have self-determination, notwithstanding Pandit Nehru's betrayal of the Dalai Lama, because according to legal experts it was independent when China occupied it. Colin Powell arrives this month. India must pre-empt American manipulation that forces down our throats any unacceptable compromise.
Use your brain
To stay ahead,
Or suffer the pain
Of loss instead.